History

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The Legend of the QWERTY Keyboard

In the 1860s, a politician, printer, newspaper man, and amateur inventor in Milwaukee by the name of Christopher Latham Sholes spent his free time developing various machines to make his businesses more efficient. One such invention was an early typewriter, which he developed with Samuel W. Soulé, James Densmore, and Carlos Glidden, and first patented in 1868. The earliest typewriter keyboard resembled a piano and was built with an alphabetical arrangement of 28 keys. The team surely assumed it would be the most efficient arrangement. After all, anyone who used the keyboard would know immediately where to find each letter; hunting would be reduced, pecking would be increased. Why change things? This is where the origin of QWERTY gets a little foggy.

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Grapefruit Is One of the Weirdest Fruits on the Planet

That food was grapefruit, a seemingly ordinary fruit that is, in truth, anything but ordinary. Right from the moment of its discovery, the grapefruit has been a true oddball. Its journey started in a place where it didn’t belong, and ended up in a lab in a place where it doesn’t grow. Hell, even the name doesn’t make any sense.

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Tsar Bomba – Unclassified Footage

Rosatom has released previously classified footage of the largest bomb to ever be detonated, Tsar Bomba.

With a yield of 50 megatons (50 million tons), equal to around 3,800 Hiroshima bombs, the weapon was set off over Novaya Zemlya on October 30, 1961

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2020/08/rosatom-releases-previously-classified-documentary-video-50-mt-novaya-zemlya-test

Update: I think they took it down? So, this seems to be a re-upload: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJhZ3i-HXS0

Tip: YouTube’s auto-translated captions do a great job turning it into english.

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The second shuttle launch (STS-27) after the Challenger disaster almost ended in disaster.

One report describes the crew as “infuriated” that Mission Control seemed unconcerned. When Commander Gibson saw the damage he thought to himself, “We are going to die”, and did not believe that the shuttle would survive reentry; if instruments indicated that the shuttle was disintegrating, he planned to “tell mission control what I thought of their analysis” in the remaining seconds before his death.

The shuttle Atlantis actually sustained more damage than what would bring down Columbia in 2003. The Top Secret payload (a surveillance satellite for the US DOD) meant that communication with the ground was done using a slower method of encryption which could have resulted in lower quality images for analysis (eg. higher compression for faster transmission over a slow line).

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When slaves and free men were shipwrecked together

As they landed on the island on the night of the wreck, some of the crew supposed it inhabited. But the dark-skinned “locals” they encountered had come on the same ship, just a different part of it. Below deck 160 or so slaves had languished, men, women and children. Nearly half of them had died in the night, probably drowned under the nailed-down hatches. That still left 88, two-thirds of them men, now unshackled.

Image 2018-05-14 at 10.00.24 PM

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The strange story of Australia’s wild camel

I looked online that evening to make sure I hadn’t been hallucinating. Camels, you understand, are about as Australian as polar bears. Or rather, that used to be true. It turned out I’d just been ill-informed – and to a colossal degree. The outback was, and is, home to an extraordinary number of wild camels.

Screenshot 2018-04-12 15.32.45